Bianca Andreescu’s 2019 has bloomed quite nicely. Ranked outside the WTA Top 150, the 18-year-old has risen nearly 100 place in just under two months. In a season where every week seems like a new milestone for the young Canadian, she ticked off another box today, earning her first victory at the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 win over Irina-Camelia Begu.
Begu got off to a flying start, racing out to a seemingly unassailable 5-1 lead in the first set courtesy of loose play off her Canadian opponent’s racquet. Andreescu might share heritage with the Romanian but wasn’t keen to share any more points with her, however, as she fought back from 0-40, 2-5 down to even the score at 5-5, and once again to a first-set tiebreak.
The margins were paper thin in the tiebreak, but it was Begu who held her game together the firmest, allowing her to seal the set in just under an hour.
The Canadian would be undeterred in kicking off a comeback, as she did just that in the opening game of the second set, breaking to 30 with ambitious play on her backhand wing, which Begu had been tactically peppering with high balls for the majority of the match. Andreescu would ultimately hold on to her break lead long enough level the match and send the tense encounter into a third.
The third set featured many of the lengthy, geometric rallies characteristic of the clash, except with the heightened drama of a final-set shootout. Begu broke early but after consolidating for 3-1, wouldn’t win another game. Andreescu’s gritty defense gave the No. 70-ranked Romanian just one too many balls to put away, which held true until the final point of the match where a sharp defensive slice elicited one final Begu error to end the contest.
After two hours and 25 minutes of compelling tennis, Andreescu put her hands to her face in disbelief, having earned revenge over a tricky opponent against whom she had lost a heartbreaker to in Fed Cup little over a year ago. She’ll face No. 32 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the second round on Friday.